New naloxone distribution program launches in York Region amid rise in opioid overdoses

A new one-year pilot project will see police in York Region provide free naloxone kits to anyone at risk of an opioid overdose.

Run in partnership with York Region Public Heath, the new Naloxone Distribution Program is being offered in Newmarket, Aurora, and King Township.

People can obtain a kit through a frontline officer or by stopping by York Regional Police’s #1 District Headquarters at 429 Harry Walker Pkwy S. in Newmarket.

Each kit contains two doses of NARCAN (naloxone) nasal spray, a pair of non-latex gloves, a rescue breathing barrier, and a pamphlet describing steps on how to respond to an opioid overdose and resources to support people who use drugs.

Aside from handing out naloxone kits, frontline officers have also “been educated” about the program, YRP said. Supervisors, who will deliver them, have also been trained on how to administer naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The new Naloxone Distribution Program comes in response to rising opioid-related overdoses across York Region. Last month, there were three overdoses in Newmarket, one of which was fatal.

“(It) will make it easier for members of our community at risk of an overdose to access life-saving naloxone kits,” Chief Jim MacSween said in a release.

“Together with our partners on the Opioid Education and Response Workgroup, we are supporting a harm reduction approach to help reduce stigma and connect substance users with the community-based resources they need.”

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